Zoo's Views: Not necessary to deal veteran core

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Zoo's Views: Not necessary to deal veteran core

A report recently surfaced that Thaddeus Young has asked the 76ers for a trade. Young promptly denied the rumor (see story) and proceeded to go on probably the finest four-game tear of his NBA career.

There might be the assumption that Young is showcasing himself so that a deal gets done. In fact, some seem to think Young, along with veterans Evan Turner (restricted free agent-to-be) and Spencer Hawes (unrestricted free agent-to-be) are as good as gone anyway.

It is, of course, the job of team president and general manager Sam Hinkie to decide if that happens. In the meantime, I would postulate a housecleaning that includes any or all of the above named players is not a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, I might even advocate keeping one, two or all of them.

Let’s start with Young. If you’re trying to create a winning culture, Young is certainly a good guy to have around. He’s a blue-collar worker who plays both ends of the floor and never complains no matter what he’s asked to do by his coach. Isn’t that what you’re trying to instill in the rest of your players?

Turner is a much sought-after commodity in the NBA, a player who can create his own shot and at the same time fill the stat sheet. If his renewal comes at the right price, it’s something the Sixers might want to consider.

Coming into Sunday's game in Los Angeles against the Lakers, Hawes had accomplished something only Tim Duncan had done -- averaging at least 14 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Plus, Hawes has the added ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting, something that is also coveted by NBA teams. Again, if the price is right, why not hold onto him?

Finally, consider that all three bring two other assets to your team. They’re all veterans, which is something you’ll need to mix in if you’re rebuilding with youth (even with them, the Sixers had the NBA’s youngest roster on opening night). At the same time, Young, Hawes and Turner are all just 25 years old, leaving them with plenty of good basketball in front of them.

Michael Carter-Williams seems to have all the makings of a future star. Nerlens Noel is an athletic big man who may one day have an impact. Also, this summer the Sixers hold two potential lottery picks in one of the best drafts in years, and money under the salary cap, even with potential financial commitments to Hawes and Turner.

What moves could they make trading any combination of Young, Hawes and/or Turner that could improve that situation?

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber.